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Chopin: Fantaisie; Carter, Schumann / Aleck Karis


Release Date: 09/11/1993 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9001   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinElliott CarterRobert Schumann
Performer:  Aleck Karis
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Aleck Karis inaugurates this American Pianists Series in impressive fashion. At first sight the choice of programme might seem eccentric, but it does have a certain logic. The opening of Carter's Night Fantasies grows effectively out of Chopin's conclusion; and Carter himself has cited Carnaval as one of the spiritual ancestors of his piece. Whether listeners will choose to undergo this challenge to their versatility is debatable, however, and it may depend on other factors.

In Night Fantasies Karis need not fear comparison with Charles Rosen (Etcetera); both are so faithful to the score that differences are trivial—Karis can stretch the major tenth Rosen has to break in bar 113, in the recitative from bar 235 Rosen takes his
Read more cue more from the collerico marking, Karis more from the single forte, and so on. I wonder if the similarity of interpretation is not a revealing comment on the reality or otherwise of the ''continuously changing moods'' in Night Fantasies—has the intellectual rigour filtered those moods beyond recognition? Whether it has or not, there are not so many modern piano works of comparable stature that one can afford to quibble.

I also wonder whether Karis was wise to measure the fives and sevens of Eusebius so carefully as he does Carter's metrical fluctuations. Best of all in this Carnaval is the proud sturdiness of the ''Davidsbundler'' march, and Karis certainly does all that is required of him in terms of power and dexterity. He is by no means an insensitive player, but a more resonant, full-bodied treble line and more judicious voicing of the lower parts would surely release more colour and dramatic profile into his readings.

As it is, neither the Chopin Fantasia nor Carnaval takes wing in quite the way one might have hoped. But in terms of what the whole enterprise stands for—the promotion of talented young artists and the inclusion of first-rate modern works alongside standard repertoire—this is a venture greatly to be welcomed.

-- Gramophone [1/1987]
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Works on This Recording

1. Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Aleck Karis (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 02/1984 
Venue:  Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, NYC 
Length: 12 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2. Night Fantasies by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Aleck Karis (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/1984 
Venue:  Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, NYC 
Length: 22 Minutes 12 Secs. 
3. Carnaval, Op. 9 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Aleck Karis (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1835; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1984 
Venue:  Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, NYC 
Length: 28 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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